YCS in 2008: A not-so-flattering retrospective

>> Wednesday

So we've come to the end of the Year of Our Lord 2008, and boy, what a fantastic year it was! Just kidding--2008 was horrible. Political scandal, economic collapse, racial progress, the death of the great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn... There's no two ways about it--2008 really sucked.

Admittedly, things haven't been going much better here at Yellow Chair Sports. Bucking the global trends, us YCS authors actually spent more time in the workplace in 2008 than in 2007, and when we haven't been working, we've been going to grad school, training for 10-K's, raising children, or in my case, launching a social networking site for DuPage County single Italian vegetarians. The result: infrequent, lazy posting and all-time low readership.

Excuses aside, we always came through with the timely reporting and clear analysis that you've all come to rely on. So without further ado, I give you the Best of YCS in 2008, a.k.a. Links to All of Vinnie's Posts and a Handful of Others from 2008.

Back in early January when the BBWAA was getting ready to rock the Hall of Fame vote, we discussed the credentials of one of its most hotly debated candidates.

The opening round of the NFL Playoffs was more thrilling than a helicopter ride through the Gaza strip.

How good were the 2007 Patriots? The answer lies in this simple and probably bogus statistical exercise.

A heartbreaking Packers loss in the NFC Championship gives us all a chance to reflect on losing.

It took more than 18 months, but we finally got to 100,000 hits.

In advance of the Super Bowl, we offered a few viewing tips to all the skirts and homos.

In soccer news, the EPL announces an ill-conceived plan to take games overseas.

After a thrilling Westminster Dog Show, we were treated to a guest post by the Best in Show.

All the baseball world waited in suspense for the transcript of the Clemens-McNamee testimony.

Societal epidemic du jour: fans rushing the field at professional sports events.

Societal epidemic du following jour: fans taunting athletes at collegiate sports events.

The tale of R.A. Dickey raisies an interesting question in the realm of sports medicine.

NFL offseason cuts sometimes make you scratch your head--especially if you've been in a coma for seven years.

Expansion of the MLS to Philadelphia: Good idea or bad idea? I wouldn't know because I probably didn't read this post, but it looks like Mike put a lot of effort into it.

Bar room discussion: What athletes of yesteryear would you have most liked to watch?

Every March, offices buzz with the sound of NCAA tourney smalltalk.

It was obvious from spring training that the Cubs' choice of Ryan Dempster in the starting rotation was the wrong one.

The confounding and memorable Tennessee Volunteers bow out of the NCAA tourney.

Even for the biggest college hoops junkies, sometimes the haul of the NCAA tourney is too much to handle.

The only thing certain about Indiana's choice for head basketball coach was his skin color.

In advance of MLB opening day, God dropped by to share some thoughts.

Everyone in Marquette nation had something to say about the departure of Tom Crean.

CBS would ultimately appease those lobbying to get Billy Packer fired.

Our college hoops expert evaluates the Buzz Williams hire.

The Pope desecrates hallowed sports ground with a bunch of tired one-liners.

A Bob Costas-hosted HBO segment got a lot of bloggers in a tizzy.

Nothing beats the splendor and excitement of the Kentucky Derby.

As a service to White Sox fans, we do some surrogate blogging for Hawk and D.J.

The NBA Draft Lottery outcome demonstrates the power of prayer over totally random physical events.

It was a sad day in Wisconsin when everyone's favorite Packer retired.

Not everyone wants instant replay in baseball.

Following a difficult few weeks, Tom Crean reassures the Indiana fanbase.

When the dust finally settled on the Democratic primary race, Dick Vitale offered his thoughts on Barack Obama's victory.

It was an exciting MLB ameteur draft for YCS, as one of our own (sort of) became a major leaguer.

YCS MLB Road Show: AT&T Park.

Candace Parker slams her way into WNBA history and into the heart of a very special fan.

Rumors that the Red Sox are eyeing George Costanza begin to circulate.

The Olympic Games in China were threatened by an environmental hazard.

Milwaukee rejoiced when the Brewers scored C.C. Sabathia.

Did any of 2008's MLB All-Stars make the most egregiously undeserving mandatory team representative all-time All-Star team?

Old, crotchety commentary: What ever happened to the good old days when people actually lived up to a contract?

The soccer hooligans invade.

YCS MLB Road Show: Wrigley Field.

Every season, NFL training camp is a time for feel-good stories.

Not everyone is equally impressed by Michael Phelps.

The Olympics are marred by perverts gawking at underage female gymnasts.

Baseball and softball are not the only Olympic sports that need to go.

The Olympic games inspire a Quixotic three-part attempt define the term sport.

The 2008 L.A. Angels of Anaheim challenge the merits of Pythagorean win-loss.

Daunte Culpepper reminds us why agents are a necessary evil.

Asian golfers are targeted by the racist LPGA.

Packers fans were challenged to let go of the past and accept Aaron Rogers as the future.

Francisco Rodriguez sets the all-time saves record, but it comes at a cost.

For the Brewers to win the Wild Card, they needed some help from the Cubs.

After an agonizing month of twists and turns, the Brewers finally clinched the Wild Card.

Despite all the promise of the 2008 season, it was more of the same in Chicago and Milwaukee.

Few were more excited about Tampa Bay's surprise World Series appearance than the folks at Ray's.

Game 5 of the World Series was an all-time classic, despite the umpiring crew's best attempts to ruin it.

The blog that inspired our own decided to call it quits.

The pressure-cooker NHL coaching environment is reinforced when Barry Melrose got fired.

Another season of Notre Dame football, another season of speculation about the security of the head coach.

The long arm of the MLB reaches India.

After an 0-11 start, an improbable losing streak ends.

Who should be the 2008 NFL MVP? Why not Chad Pennington.

And boom. There you have it--2008. We at YCS hope that 2009 brings better returns for everyone, and we hope to do our part by bringing you a more productive year of sports blogging. Then again, if we're all eating our boot leather on New Year's Eve 2009, don't come blaming us.


The lyrics to "Baby It's Cold Outside" are a lot less romantic if you interpret them as being about date rape

>> Tuesday

I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside

I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside

This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in

So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice

My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry

My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar

So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry

well Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there

Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there

I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now

To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell

I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer

At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride

I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out

Ahh, but it's cold outside C'mon baby

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside

The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside

This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in

So nice and warm -- Look out the window at that storm

My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious

My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore

My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious

Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there

Say, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there

You've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now

But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me

There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow

At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died

I really can't stay - Get over that old out

Ahh, but it's cold outside

Baby it's cold outside

Brr its cold….It's cold out there

Cant you stay awhile longer baby

Well…..I really shouldn't...alright

Make it worth your while baby

Ahh, do that again….

Merry Christmas from YCS!


You Asked For It

>> Saturday

Because you asked for it in the comments of this YCS post , you get my commentary on this SI.com article detailing the raw deal that a number of graduating senior NCAA soccer players get upon entering the MLS Draft. On a side note, come visit YCS's token soccer writer as he brings live coverage of the 2009 MLS Draft on January 15th at the Edward Jones Dome/Convention Center in St. Louis, MO. And by "live coverage" I mean I'm skipping my Trial Ad class to drink beer all afternoon and heckle ESPN's lousy soccer commentators, and the players New England and Columbus draft with a Section 8 Chicago traveling contingent.

Basic summary
A select number of outstanding junior players are given a "Generation Adidas" tag. As an incentive to leave college early. These players get roster protection, and their salary does not count towards a team's limited salary cap. They tend to be the most talented junior players (past alums include Tim Howard (now with Everton), DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu (both now with Rangers FC), and Jozy Altidore (now with Villareal). They are highly prized in the draft both for their already-shown talent, their young age and potential, and their inexpense.

Graduating seniors taken in the first round get roster protection, but the rest are usually signed to developmental contracts, usually making roughly the same salary as a minor-league baseball player.

The article says that this gives college players a raw deal, and is driving talented players who could be playing in MLS to comparable leagues overseas, such as Austria, Switzerland, and the Benelux and Scandinavian leagues., and recommends either roster protection, an increase in salary, or some combination of the two to encourage talented college players to enter MLS.

My take
The author seems to imply that a good college career should be a free pass for an MLS signing, but MLS is a league unlike others in the United States. The Draft has great importance for the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB because either 1.) That league is the most prominent, if not the only major league for top players to play in in the world, and/or 2.) the talent pools are drawn primarily from the ranks of college players, due to the sport being played only in one area of the world (North America).

MLS (and other soccer leagues) draw their players from all over the world. As such, NCAA draftees not only must be better players than their peers, but also better than some kid from El Salvador or Argentina or Ghana. While this hypothetical foreign player may not have played in the NCAA, he may have been playing professional soccer with his local club's development academy since he was 15.

MLS has also seen a shift towards ignoring the college game and raising their own talent levels through official team youth academies, where for example, DC United has their senior team, a U-23 team, a U-20 team and a U-18 team, all playing under the DC United badge. Soon, these will become attractive opportunities for young soccer players, which will place even less emphasis on the college game.

These factors of player development, combined with the economy which is already hurting sports leagues (although not MLS yet), combined with MLS's already-developing, but still tenuous financials, make it unlikely that we will see a change in roster-protection status, or increased salary among later-round NCAA draftees.


Someone's lying

>> Friday

I plucked this screenshot (the only thing my lazy ass posts anymore, in case you hadn't noticed) from a totally interesting espn.com story on sports' most conversation-provoking franchise, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Evidently, the SmarterThanPros.com test--like me--has an anti-Scottish bias, or Nate McLouth made the mistake of taking that test in the Dream Cafe. Either way, I'm totally smarter than Nate McLouth.


Wait, Really?

So I was just looking at something on ESPN.com and I saw that 12-0 Boise State (ranked #9 nationally) is going to be playing #11 TCU (10-2) in a bowl game this year. Sounds like an awesome game, right? Two reasonably prominent teams that played well this season. Then, something struck me a little funny.

Boise State and TCU will be squaring off in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. I'm sure this has been brought up before by people far more knowledgeable about college football than I, but seriously? Going undefeated gets you to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl? Granted, it seems on paper like a decent game, with #11 and #9 playing against each other, but come on. A game that good deserves a much more prestigious sounding bowl game, or at least one with a lot more succinctness to it (also, is succinctness a word? Yes, I know, I have a degree in English. Shut up.).

For Christ's sake, if we're not going to have a playoff in college football, then we should at least have a law mandating that quality of competition be reflected in quality of bowl game name. Went 12-0 or 10-2? You get something like the Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Rose Bowl. Went 6-6 and just made a postseason game because there are a ridiculous amount of superfluous bowl games? Congratulations, assclowns, you're going to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the PapaJohns.com Bowl or the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Come on, people, it makes sense.

Anyway, congratulations on going undefeated, Boise State. Don't worry, The BCS totally works. Totally.


He Did It Again

>> Monday

Who is this guy?


Lock of the Week

>> Sunday

Sadly, my odds-defying winless streak went kaput last week, just three games shy of a perfect season. I overestimated J.P. Losman's abilities and the impact of the Toronto weather, and a win was the price I paid.

But wallowing in my regrets will get me nowhere. All I can do is pull myself up and try my best to make the most terrible picks I know how. So here goes another.

The same Miami Dolphins that bit me last week return home to play the improved 49ers, who are getting 6 points from the bookmakers. Chad Pennington may be the front-runner for NFL MLP, but I think the 49ers will rally around the loss of star running back Frank Gore and play inspired football. So if you're a Dolphins fan, look out because Samurai Mike's boys will stop 'em cold cold this week.

49ers (+6)
over the Dolphins--Book it!


Chad Pennington NFL MVP?

>> Friday

Yes, this may actually be a possibility and is not as far fetched as it seems it on the surface. Pennington ranks sixth in passer rating in the NFL, and three of the guys ahead of him (Rivers, Romo, and Brees) are likely leading teams that will miss the playoffs (with the Dolphins right in the thick of it in the AFC). Should the Dolphins get into the playoffs or even win the AFC East, Pennington would have a really compelling case. For all of the talk Matt Ryan has gotten as a potential MVP candidate (by a certain sports network and their concussed former running back), Pennington's cast of characters (Ronnie Brown one year removed from reconstructive knee surgery, Ricky Williams in his tenth re-incarnation, and a receiving core of Ted Ginn and Greg Camarillo) pales in comparison to Ryan's (a top running back in Michael Turner and the NFL's leader in receiving yards in Roddy White). As of now, Pennington probably ranks a distant third on my proverbial ballot behind Kurt Warner and the real Adrian Peterson. However, if the Dolphins make the playoffs and say the Vikings choke again and the Cards limp to the finish, Pennington deserves real consideration for an honor guys that were cut in training camp rarely receive.



>> Wednesday


AFL to Suspend Operations in 2009

Arena Football to announce by week's end that 2009 season will not be played./

In related news, 24 people demanding refund of season ticket deposits.


Women Be Crazy

>> Monday

From Deadspin comes an hilarious item only tangentially related to our posts about Rinku and Dinesh. Apparently, Dinesh runs a blog and posted this little nugget in response to gossip about him being "on the Babewatch" -

American women very dangerous and very crazy. I like only Indian woman. Dinesh and JB, Sir have been harrassing me about this BABEWATCH. I do not like the BABEWATCH.

Has this guy never seen a hack stand up comedian? Of course American women are crazy. They're women. And women be crazy.

My advice: stick to watching only the Indian sexy fucking women channel.


Lock of the Week

>> Sunday

With my season-long losing streak at 11(?), the pressure is mounting. Ask anyone who's ever stood behind me in line for a urinal in a crowded bathroom--I don't perform well under pressure. So excuse me if I'm getting a little nervous.

For this week's lock, I'm setting my sights north of the border to Toronto--home of the Argos, twelve-time Grey Cup champions, rumblin' bumblin' stumblin' etc. The Bills are a one-point favorite over the Dolphins, but they'll be without superstar quarterback Trent Edwards. Also, weather conditions will be brutally cold, which, according to history, should benefit the Mammals.

So get that bookie on the horn, stat. Dolphins (+1) over the Bills--It's a sure winner!


Fuck This Guy

>> Saturday

As one of the few members of the YCS family not in attendance at the Wisconsin/Marquette game (also: 61-58! Woo!), I was forced to watch the game in prehistoric (read: non HD) conditions at home on ESPN U. And as such, I was subjected to seeing the ShamWow commercial no less than 5 times. And with said commercial, of course, comes this guy:

God, I fucking hate this guy. And I also have some questions for him:

1. What's with the headset microphone? You're on a TV commercial. Don't they have like, boom mikes for that and shit?

2. Where do you get off having a faux-hawk on my TV?

3. The fuck's got you so excited about towels?

4. In the words of Pat, "You look absolutely awful."

Also, I'm not the only one that's noticed. Slate.com is also on to this joker's tricks and his horrendous Brooklyn-ish accent.

For this douche in all his glory, please freel free to watch the video below and then kill yourself.


Dial up the "Party" Line!

It's Official! The Chicago Blackhawks finally honored Steve Larmer (my Blackhawk hero) during their first "Heritage Night" of the season when the Hawks dismantled Gordon Bombay's Mighty Ducks Wednesday night.

As a key member of the heralded "Party Line" with Denis Savard and Al Secord, Larmer played in 891 consecutive games and recorded 923 points (406 goals).

Steve Larmer was one tough cookie who mixed his incredible durability with superior talent. Gretzky only wishes he could hold this dude's jock.


The Second OJ Trial

>> Friday

A few questions:

1. Why are we still seeing Ron Goldman's parents on TV? This case had nothing to do with them. Why were they even at the trial? They're psychotic. And where was Kato? I want his opinion.

2. Should OJ lose his place in the football HOF? Face it; this guy is now a convicted felon and should probably be stripped of every honor he's over owned. Pete Rose and Joe Jackson are banned from the greatest pro sport on the planet despite never being convicted for a crime, and OJ is still in the Hall. How riducoloso. I'm pretty sure he'll lose all those honors.

3. How much bad publicity can the NFL endure? I mean, the NFL is truly a league of criminals, and I'm honestly going to stop watching it. I'm not kidding. Michael Vick, Chris Henry, Pacman Jones, Plaxico Burress... etc, etc. It's disgusting. Please, let's all boycott the NFL this postseason. I'm really not kidding. Let's stick with sports untainted by corruption and rule-breaking, like college football (sic).

Anyways, those are my Andy Rooney-like thoughts of the day.


Go Midshipmen!

Looking today at the AP Top 25 College Hoops poll, and I don't know, something struck me a little funny...

Who the fuck voted for Navy?


Best all-time Google search referral--never, ever to be topped

I know I've treaded this ground many times before, but how could I ignore this one:

"Indian sexy fucking women channel"

Oh, and Zuch--before you waste your time, I already checked; Comcast doesn't offer it.


"Playerrrrrrrr," not "Playerzzzzzzzzzz-zuh-zuh-zuh"

This would be more appropriate for my (defunct?) Bad Poll blog, but since I've neglected the shit out of it, it goes here. Apparently, CBS Sportsline only counts offensive linemen as one-fifth of a man each:

If you ask me, the NFL MVP this year is Kyle Orton, Matt Forte, Lovie Smith, Staley the Bear, and Mike Ditka.


Leave Your Big 12 South Tiebreaker Proposals Here

>> Tuesday

I'll start.

- Rodeo. Put each team's starting QB on a bull. Longest time wins.

- H-O-R-S-E. Played with the kickers. "Alright, from 58 yards, with your LEFT foot, off the left upright...and in."

- Bake-off between the wives of the tied teams offensive coordinators.

- Wet T-shirt contest to be contested between each school's cheerleaders.

- Mascot boxing.

- Each head coach randomly placed in the wilderness with a map with directions to one gun with two bullets.

- Special appearnce on Jeopardy! or American Gladiators

- One game playoff, with all three teams on the field at the same time.


Retroactive Lock of the Week

Now that Matt has publicly called me out--not to mention guaranteed that I will be stalked by adoring female fans for the rest of my days--I feel the need to apologize for not posting a Lock of the Week. But come on--it was Thanksgiving weekend, for cripes sake. Sue a guy for wanting to spend time with his family during the holidays, why dontcha?

Oh, but here's the thing--I did make a pick, but I just never got around to posting it. And in case you don't believe me, I have a witness in Paul to back me up. So everyone pile in the Delorean and take a trip back to Thursday. Now go find your bookie, and say, "Larry--I'd like $100 on Seattle (+12), please!"

Now fast forward back to today, and hey--whatdya know? My streak continues! Suck it, Matt.


Asshole Blogger Blows Streak

>> Monday

What the fuck, Vinnie? For 12 straight weeks we've been sitting here watching you make some of the worst NFL picks in history, and all of a sudden you decide to take a break? Man, you suck. What, were you busy? Bullshit. Your job can wait. You've got terrible picks to make.

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